I’ve met many food-loving Portlanders since starting Portland Food Adventures almost three years ago. Many in this city may call themselves “foodies,” but I don’t know of anyone who isn’t a chef or in the business that has a better claim to that moniker than @Garythefoodie (find him on Twitter). He’s been known to jump on a plane just to have one or two meals, and return. When was the last time you tried 30 courses over seven hours in one sitting? Gary has. He often asks Portland chefs to serve a dozen or so of their favorite dishes when he goes to eat in our city—most of- ten by himself, and never by car (which is one way to balance out those big meals. He walks!).
Given his depth of knowledge, I asked Gary to give us his five favorites in Portland, the USA and inter- nationally. It didn’t take him long to reel off his lists. He insisted on mentioning ten in Portland, so included are worthy honorable mentions.
Every list is in alphabetical order. Gary preferred it that way.
Gary’s 5 Favorite Restaurants in Portland by Garythefoodie
“I’ve dined here around 60 times, and the food is always executed perfectly. I find Chef Pliner’s dishes addictive. For example, I must’ve eaten ‘four cup’ chicken over 20 times and am still not tired of it. And I can say the same about many of her other dishes.”
“This is quite possibly the most influential restaurant in the city based upon the chefs who have worked here: Gibson (now of Evoe), Finley (Chop), Cairo and Tilden (Olympic Provisions), and of course, Lightner (Atera in NYC). Uber-talented Chef Justin Woodward follows this tradition by creating some of the most refined food Portland has to offer. The desserts created by him and Chef Kuttemann are my all-time PDX favorites based on both taste and presentation.”
“Chef Rucker’s flavor combinations are some of the most unique I have ever encountered. They can border on wacky, which is why I call him the ‘Willy Wonka of foie gras.’ But his dishes always have great depth of flavors. Two James Beard Awards in the last three years speak to the food that Gabriel Rucker serves on a nightly basis.”
“This is the best value in town. $40 for four courses plus an amuse bouche and intermezzo. In general, I really don’t like vegetables, but Chef Woo creates vegan and vegetarian dishes that even I thoroughly enjoy.”
“My favorite Portland seafood restaurant EVER. Eating at the chef ’s counter and letting Chef Pierce execute his innovative dishes is a gastronomic treat that is not to be missed.”
Cocotte, Noisette, Ración, St. Jack, Podnah’s
USA, outside of Portland:
Coi (San Francisco, CA), Grace (Chicago, IL), L2O (Chicago, IL), Manresa (Los Gatos, CA), Next Restaurant (Chicago, IL)
Le Cinq (Paris, France), L’Epicure (Paris, France), Ledoyen (Paris, France), Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy), Pierre Gagnaire (Paris, France)
Chris Angelus is the founder of PortlandFoodAdventures.com